Coconino National Forest seeks public input on Oak Creek Watershed Restoration Project

Contact(s): Red Rock Ranger District 928-203-2900, Media Contact: Brady Smith, George Jozens (928)224-8306


Sedona, Arizona — In an effort to improve the Oak Creek watershed, the Coconino National Forest is releasing a proposal to prepare an environmental assessment (EA) for the Oak Creek Watershed Restoration Project and seeking public input on this project.

The public is invited to provide input during the comment period beginning Friday, December 22, 2017 through Jan. 22, 2018, regarding the project’s proposed action that includes nine separate activities under one umbrella to improve the watershed conditions, wildlife habitat, and water quality. Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record for this proposed action.

The public can submit their comments in person at the Red Rock Ranger District office, 8375 state Route 179, Sedona [Google Maps], or in writing, through one of several methods:

  • E-mail: Send to comments-southwestern-coconino-redrock@fs.fed.us and include “Oak Creek Watershed Restoration Project” in the subject line.
  • Mail: Send to Coconino National Forest, Attn: Oak Creek Watershed Restoration Project, P.O. Box 20429, Sedona, AZ 86341.
  • Fax: to (928) 203-7539.

The proposed action, including in-depth descriptions of each of the nine activities and related project maps, is located on the Forest Service’s Oak Creek Watershed Restoration Project website. Additionally, the public can learn more about the proposed action at a public meeting on Jan. 17, 2018, from 5-7 p.m. at the Yavapai College Sedona Center, room 34, (4215 Arts Village Drive, in west Sedona) [Google Maps].

This project is based on the 2016 Middle and Lower Oak Creek Canyon Watershed Restoration Action Plan to benefit watershed conditions. The proposed project builds on collaborative efforts with stakeholders, including the Oak Creek Watershed Council and the Northern Arizona Forest Foundation. The Forest Service is also working closing with the Arizona Department of Transportation related to project activities along Highway 89A.

The proposed activities include:

  • Oak Creek Canyon informal roadside parking planning. Restore and rehabilitate unauthorized parking and unauthorized trails in locations along 89A in Upper Oak Creek Canyon.
  • End of Chavez Ranch Road day-use site planning and toilet installation. Develop this area as a low-impact, day-use site to reduce negative impacts from unmanaged recreation, including installing a toilet outside the 100-year floodplain.
  • Angel Valley 89B Oak Creek day-use site and toilet installation. Design two designated parking areas, install a toilet outside the 100-year floodplain, and restore areas adversely impacted by unmanaged vehicle and camping uses.
  • Mitigation of unauthorized trails to improve habitat for the listed narrow-headed garter snake. Provide access to Oak Creek and West Fork of Oak Creek in hardened, rock-armored locations and decommission unauthorized trails.
  • Spring Creek aquatic organism passage on Willow Point road crossing. Remove and replace the existing Spring Creek crossing structure on National Forest System Road 796 to improve aquatic organism passage and improve road drainage.
  • Install new pet waste stations near perennial water and trailheads. Add to the number of pet waste stations at 16 trailheads.
  • Protection and riparian restoration at Molina homestead. Convert the end of National Forest System Road 9845 into a trail and realign to allow access to Oak Creek.
  • Lower Oak Creek unauthorized motorized trail closure and restoration. Close and restore motorized unauthorized roads leading across Oak Creek from National Forest System Road 9813 to National Forest System Road 119B.
  • Road decommissioning in the Oak Creek watershed. Decommission approximately 19 miles of roads by placing boulders, using vegetative slash, camouflaging entrance points, ripping, and seeding.

The preliminary EA is anticipated to be completed in late spring 2018, when the environmental effects analysis will be available for public review and comment. A final EA and draft Record of Decision are anticipated to be released in mid-2018.

 

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/coconino/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD567482